Michelle M. Harner
The Debtor filed a Motion to Convert Chapter 7 Case to Chapter 11 Subchapter V, and Request to Extend Deadlines. By that motion, the Debtor asked the Court to convert his chapter 7 case to one under subchapter V of chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (the “Code”), pursuant to section 706 of the Code. The Debtor also requested an extension of (i) the 60-day deadline for the Court to hold a status conference under section 1188 of the Code, and (ii) the 90-day deadline for the Debtor to file his plan under section 1189 of the Code. The Court granted the Debtor’s request to convert his case to one under chapter 11, and the Debtor thereafter filed an amended petition electing to proceed under subchapter V. The present decision addresses the Debtor’s requested extension of the subchapter V deadlines, which requires the Court to grapple with a simple but important question: Is subchapter V available to a debtor who first files a bankruptcy case under a chapter other than chapter 11 of the Code, but then determines that it is eligible for, and could benefit from, subchapter V? For the reasons explained in the decision, the Court answers this question in the affirmative and sets extended deadlines for the Debtor under sections 1188 and 1189 of the Code. To hold otherwise would preclude a debtor, who has not engaged in any dilatory or wrongful conduct, from utilizing provisions of the Code specifically designed to help small businesses and their creditors.